Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika), is a country in Northern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, it is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3 million as of 2013, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Lithuanians are a Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, and Latvian are the only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.
For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772–95, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.
Lithuania attracts many tourists from neighbouring countries and all over the world. Statistics Lithuania issues national tourism reports. They are based on statistical surveys, visits to tourist information centers, statistics compiled by the Ministry of Economy, and aggregated data from the Bank of Lithuania's balance of payments records.
Lithuania experiences a constant increase of foreign visitors. As of the first half of 2006 the number of visitors (except from the member states of the European Union and member states of EFTA) has risen 11.1 percent compared to 2005 and reached 985,700. Lithuania attracts foreign visitors mostly from Russia, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Belarus, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Finland. Druskininkai and Birštonas resorts experienced around 50 percent increase of occupiers in 2005 compared to 2004; while the increase of arrivals staying in Neringa and Palanga averaged 22 percent. The majority of visitors staying in hotels and lodging houses come from Germany, Poland, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Finland.
From January to September 2006, Lithuanian hotels have experienced a 13,7 percent increase of occupiers compared to 2005, 51 percent of them being foreign visitors (nearly 620,000). Among them, a number of foreign occupiers in Druskininkai has increased 25,7 percent and 27,5 percent in Palanga. Almost a half of the foreign visitors were staying in the capital, Vilnius, that experienced an increase of 10,6 percent. More than twice as many foreigners had stayed in Birštonas' sanatories, compared to 2005.
In 2013, 2.2 million tourists, of whom 1.2 million were from other countries, stayed at various accommodations in Lithuania. This represented an increase of 10.5 percent from 2012.
Agrotourism has also gained extreme popularity in the country among the locals as well as foreigners.
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